At 6-foot-1, 221 pounds, Deuce McAllister is the type of physical running back that has given Tampa Bay problems. Last season, the former Mississippi standout rushed for 109 and 99 yards, respectively, in victories against the Bucs. This season, McAllister is again an integral part of the Saints' balanced offense, averaging 4.5 yards a carry and 7.0 a reception.
"He's a north-south runner," Bucs defensive tackle Anthony McFarland said.
"That's the best kind of runner in football."
Though the Bucs' one-gap system calls for every player to take away a part of the field, middle linebacker Shelton Quarles will be in the center of the action.
Quarles, who made the Pro Bowl last season, broke his left forearm four days before the season opener against Philadelphia. He returned to the lineup Oct. 19 against the 49ers, who rushed for 212 yards in a 24-7 victory. It Quarles' first full-speed action since training camp.
"He played much, much better in Week 2 (against the Cowboys) than he did Week 1 (against the Saints)," coach Jon Gruden said.
"I think he's going to make leaps and gains every week because of the kind of player he is."
_ JOANNE KORTH